If you followed the lead-up to UFC 196, then you know McGregor didn’t let up with the boastful talk and predictions, after Diaz was booked as a replacement. Diaz returned fire for the most part, but his comments didn’t capture as many headlines as the featherweight champ’s.
Well, if you watched Saturday’s bout as well, then you saw McGregor bloody Diaz with some hard lefts. Except, Diaz didn’t go down, and after cracking McGregor with some stiff punches of his own, he submitted the superstar.
“…He cracked. It was just like watching Mike Tyson fold against Evander Holyfield and all the guys that have come before and after. Listen, when you stand up to a bully he will fade every time. Conor McGregor is a bully. Now, that’s the mental side.”
“Physically, Conor fought a great fight,” Sonnen added. “He landed some fantastic combinations. The problem was Nate Diaz was too big. When Conor landed those shots, Nate didn’t go away. Eventually Conor began to fatigue and he began to take punches himself. Forget the rear-naked choke, forget the takedown. This was about fatigue, exhaustion and Conor McGregor, mentally, needed out.”
Now, of course, McGregor fans likely don’t see it this way. Further, to McGregor’s credit, he’s acknowledged that he underestimated how his power would translate to fighting at 170 pounds.
But it will be really fascinating to see whether McGregor can rebound from this moving forward, and further, how opponents approach him. McGregor had lost in the past, but he was sort of building this air of invincibility, even if some folks weren’t sold on him yet. Now that’s been chucked aside.